Here is the deal: before I divulge this recipe, you have to cross your heart and promise not to tell on me for revealing this recipe. This is highly classified…highly protected…most definitely incorrect information.
My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook. Early in our marriage, I asked her for my husband’s most favorite of her recipes: her beef stroganoff. I was sent a different recipe instead. I asked again. I was told to throw the meat in a crockpot with water. Not quite what I was looking for.
In case you think it’s just me, before we met, my husband requested it when he moved in to his first apartment. A clipped version from the newspaper was sent to him with a note that said, “this is similar.”
Eleven years ago, I was visiting her and I asked her to show me how to make her famous stroganoff. “Sure,” she said. And she showed me. I cooked it that way for two years. It was not the same.
Two years later, I asked to watch her make it again. This time we floured the meat. Hmmm… Well, this is different. So, for two more years I cooked it that way. Nope, still not the same. It was at this point, I began to get suspiscious.
Then I finally had her in my kitchen. I asked her to show me again how to make it. This time, we did not flour the meat.
“Why aren’t we flouring the meat?” I asked her.
“I have never floured the meat.”. She replied. Unfortunately for her, I have a memory like an elephant, so I could remember each and every step from years before.
For the next four years I would flour half of my meat and not flour the other half. It was all very confusing.
Last year, I had her in my kitchen again. You know where this is going…
“Let’s make your beef stroganoff,” I said. It is jolly good times for you visitors who come to my house. This time, not only did we not flour the meat, the whole recipe was different. And it was not good. Which probably does not bode well for my daughter-in-law status.
These were my questions: “Why are we adding onions?” ” Doesn’t it need more gravy mix?” “We’re adding mushrooms?”. But my favorite, “When do we add the ketchup?” ,which was added each and every time in the previous recipes, received this response: “I have never added ketchup.”
I have been led around this recipe for fourteen years of my marriage, and these are the pieces of the recipe I have picked up. I have cooked it at least 100 times. Not only do I think I am missing something, I know it.
But here it is: in all of its imperfect, but still delicious, glory:
3-4 pounds top sirloin (I am using New York strip steak, because I had it frozen, but I almost always use sirloin)
1/3 of the giant McCormick Gravy container at Costco (This ends up being about 1 and 1/2 cups)
1 16 oz. tub of sour cream
1/3 cup Flour to coat half the meat in : )
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
3 Tablespoons of butter for stroganoff (this part, I added myself in my many attempts to copy the recipe)
2 Tablespoons of butter for egg noodles
Egg noodles (I often find myself using other noodles as well, if I am out)
Pour flour in to a bowl and mix with Steak seasoning.
Cut meat into long thin strips. It is easier to cut if the meat is partially frozen. Be careful of those hands!
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Put 3/4 of the meat into the pot on the stovetop on medium heat.
Coat the other 1/4 of the meat in the flour mixture. Add to the large pot.
Stir meat around until it has just begun to brown.
In a measuring glass, mix 1 cup dry gravy with equal parts water. Pour over meat. Mix 1/2 cup of dry gravy with equal parts water. Pour over meat. Add one extra cup of water. Stir. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn heat to low and cook covered for three hours. You will have to check meat every thirty minutes and stir: add 1/4 cup of water each time if it is too thick. Sorry, I can’t get more technical. At the end, there will be a gloppy mess in the pot from the mixture sticking. It is not pretty. It is hard to get off. I do not know how to avoid it. Just soak your pot when you are done. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Please use an old pot if you are worried about it.
When 2 hours and 45 minutes have passed, fill another pot with water and boil. Cook noodles as directed. Drain. Set aside, but first toss with 2 Tablespoons of butter and salt to taste. The kids love this!
Now, three hours have passed since the meat has been slowly simmering. At this point squirt in about 1/4 cup of ketchup. Stir. Add sour cream stir. Add butter. Taste, add more salt if necessary. Stir. Bring mixture back to a slight simmer. You do not want to curdle the mixture, just reheat it. Once it is hot, turn off heat.
Serve over buttered egg noodles. And don’t tell my mother-in-law! ( I don’t know what she was afraid of. It is not like I would tell anyone else about this recipe.). ; )
I serve this with french bread and salad. It is heavenly!
Do you have a recipe in your family that is a secret, even from you? Thank you for stopping by! I really appreciate it!